Rare fans have been eating pretty good lately. Not only did the N64 Classic Goldeneye 007 make it to Nintendo Switch and Xbox, but the cult classic Jet Force Gemini also found its way out of hiding. Banjo-Kazooie fans even found the beloved animal duo on their Nintendo Switch back in 2022. However, for fans waiting for a new Banjo game, the only thing they’ve been able to say since 2008 is, “Aw nuts (and bolts).”
Is a new Banjo-Kazooie game on its way?
Though there’s no official confirmation, breadcrumbs are starting to be laid. Phil Spencer of Microsoft has been quoted as saying “Banjo fans, we hear you,” seemingly indicating that the possibility of a new series entry is more likely than not. This comes of course after Microsoft’s acquisition of Rare, the original developers of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo Tooie, 22 years ago in 2002. In that time, we’ve only received one new entry in the series, 2008’s ill-fated vehicle-centric Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts exclusive to Xbox 360.
Is a new Banjo-Kazooie game in development?
According to insider Nate Drake, who has a history of accurately divulging leaked video game development information, a new Banjo-Kazooie game was greenlit in early 2023. He details it as “still an active project” and claims that “There is a lot to do.”
(FYI) Insider Nate Drake has said that a New Banjo Kazooie is coming
"It's still an active project, but it didn't get the green light until early last year. There is a lot to do and development can change a lot (abandoned ideas, internal reboots, etc.)
Also, Phil said: "Banjo… pic.twitter.com/sQyKlD11bu
— Idle Sloth💙💛 (@IdleSloth84_) December 29, 2023
Will the new Banjo-Kazooie game make it to Nintendo Switch?
The potential is certainly there. Nintendo has seemingly been in Microsoft’s good graces the last few years. Not only has Microsoft allowed Nintendo to use Banjo and Kazooie’s character models and likenesses for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, they’ve also given Nintendo permission to bring classic N64 titles like Goldeneye 007, Jet Force Gemini and, yes, Banjo-Kazooie to Nintendo Switch Online. Microsoft has also expressed interest in bringing Game Pass to other platforms, including Nintendo Switch. However, the most vital piece of information to remember is that Banjo-Kazooie was a Nintendo-exclusive property first. Bringing them back over to a Nintendo console in addition to keeping Microsoft’s more recent playerbase with the duo would be a smart and timely move.
The time is right for a new Banjo-Kazooie game
Back in 2022, Banjo-Kazooie made its way to Nintendo Switch Online via the N64 app. This not only brought a wave of nostalgia for thousands of gamers who grew up playing what is considered the premiere 3D collectathon, it introduced that many and more new players to collecting Jiggies, musical notes, feathers, honeycombs, Mumbo Tokens, and blue eggs. The 3D collectathon platformer has come back in a big way over the last half decade, brought on by the success of Super Mario Odyssey and the generated interest of nostalgic indies like Yooka-Laylee, A Hat In Time, and Clive ‘N Wrench. In that time, we’ve also seen the return of genre heavy-hitters like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro The Dragon. Banjo-Kazooie’s revival would fit like a glove amongst their peers, many of whom they have influenced.
What would a new Banjo-Kazooie game be like?
Back in 1998, Banjo-Kazooie released for the N64 and with it brought much larger levels encouraging a degree of freedom and exploration that no other plarformer before it had quite accomplished in the same way. Fast forward two years to the year 2000 with the release of Banjo-Tooie, the only way to go was bigger. This meant even larger levels, more abilities, more collectibles, and more side objectives. To most players, the sequel felt imbalanced compared to the well-regarded original. So when Nuts & Bolts released in 2008 and doubled down on Tooie’s large, confusing worlds and added in vehicle crafting and customization, the pair was beginning to feel directionless. Ideally, if we are to receive a new Banjo-Kazooie game in the not-so-distant future, hopefully it retains the concise scope of the original’s levels, the fun satisfaction of simply moving around them and the whimsical tone of its storybook-esque characters. In this case, simply giving us more of what we enjoyed in 1998 could be more than enough. After all, Banjo-Kazooie still holds up today and continues to influence the idea of the 3D collectathon.
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